(Center: Jury president Rich Levy)
For the second year in a row, the pharma jury at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity declined to award a Grand Prix.
Since the inception of the Pharma Lions in 2014, only two Grand Prix prizes have been awarded. Philips took the trophy in 2016 for Breathless Choir and AstraZeneca won it in 2015 for the Take it from a Fish campaign.
Pharma jury president Rich Levy said no one piece of work met all the criteria for a Grand Prix.
“The statement we’re making is that we need to enter more and have more ideas that do more than one thing well,” Levy said. “We had ideas that might be photographically beautiful, may be slightly less good conceptually, or something conceptual that had incredible illustrations but wasn’t art directed the best. We fell down just a little bit.”
He added that the Gold and Silver winners were “fantastic,” but “as a total communications package, they didn’t take that next step.”
The jury awarded 23 Pharma Lions to 11 campaigns this year. The Gold Lions went to three international campaigns: Blink to Speak, a direct-to-patient book to help those who are paralyzed communicate with eye movements, from Asha Ek Hope Foundation in India; Cochlear’s hearing loss awareness campaign in Australia; and Grünenthal’s gout disease awareness campaign, Change Gout, in the U.K.
“Last year, there were 15 Gold and Silver Lions, but eight were one single campaign. This year, we have 14 Gold and Silver winners, and 11 different campaigns,” Levy said. “We have a greater diversity of ideas that have come from all over the world. We have first-time shortlists from Norway and Lithuania and first-time winners from Romania and the Czech Republic.”
U.S. campaigns picked up six Lions, four Silver and two Bronze, this year. Four of those campaigns came from FCB companies, FCB Health and Area 23, for work with Boehringer Ingelheim, Bayer, and Eli Lilly.
Other U.S. winners were Biogen and CDM New York and Novartis and Klick Health, which took home Silver and Bronze Lions, respectively.
Levy’s takeaways from this year’s winners and shortlist were the international presence, representation from many large pharma companies, and a “diversity of ideas.”
“We saw a tremendous diversity of ideas that we have never seen before in UI, film – things that made us laugh, things that made us cry,” Levy said. “The Festival mantra of ‘life-changing creativity’ is something we took very seriously. We wanted to award work that was both life-changing and creative. This year, we saw that.”